I took some close friends for their first dive last week. It’s eye opening to introduce someone you have known for over twenty years to experience something for the first time that you do every day. One of my friends said that their first dive felt like being in the womb and flying over alien cities all at once. I guess that is one of the better descriptions I have heard. After several years of teaching people to dive here in Akumal, I have generally given up trying to describe diving. Instead Ivan and I have devoted our time to showing people what it is like. When people ask me what it is like I try to sum it up in one word – addictive.
Scuba diving does require training. For most people, the introduction is only 4 hours long, and that includes your first dive in up to 40 feet of water. The first step is a description of what you will do and how to do it. The Professional Association of Dive Instructors requires this to be done with either a flip chart or 15 minute video.
Second, we put on your equipment and head to shallow water where you practice breathing through the regulator. Sometimes the bubbles tickle your cheeks and you will sound like Darth Vader, but most people are pretty good at breathing. Together, we work on forming the unnatural habit of breathing continuously underwater. We practice swimming underwater, learning how to clear water out of your mask and regulator, how to find your regulator and how to use your instructor¬¥s alternative air source- which I have renamed the guest-regulator as it is what you would use to breathe if you had no air in your own tank. You also learn to read and watch your air gage so that you will end your dive with a reserve of air in your tank to help you avoid running out of air underwater.
Then we go on our dive. From Akumal we use a boat to get to the dive sites. They are just 5 minutes from shore. As we dive, the captain follows our bubbles from the surface so that we can relax and slowly drift along the reef. At the end of our dive, the captain is there at the surface to help us remove our gear for the 5 minute ride back to shore.
I have been diving in Yap, Palau, Egypt, Thailand, Belize, and all over the Rivera Maya and it is my opinion that Akumal is the best place to be gently introduced to the underwater world. Try it and see for yourself when you go for your first divewithnatalieandivan.com
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